UPDATED 11:56 PM PT – Friday, August 6, 2021
The Biden administration made attempts to strengthen the U.S. relationship with Ukraine ahead of a meeting with the two heads of state. The nation’s top diplomats, Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba, met at the White House on Thursday to exchange ideas on bilateral relations.
“We’ll talk about challenges to each of those and the work that we’re doing together to stand for a strong Ukraine that can defend itself against external aggression,” Blinken expressed. “Also, pursue the vitally important process of reform to strengthen even more its democracy and its economy.”
The relationship between Ukrainan President Volodymyr Zelensky and Joe Biden has been strained of late due to Biden’s lack of action regarding the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, which Ukraine has said would only help Russia develop a stronger hold on the gas market.
Pleased to meet with Ukrainian Foreign Minister @DmytroKuleba and Head of the Presidential Office Andriy Yermak to reaffirm our support for Ukraine and prepare to welcome Ukrainian President @ZelenskyyUA to Washington later this month. pic.twitter.com/U5wR92WSdC
— Secretary Antony Blinken (@SecBlinken) August 5, 2021
Kuleba called the dialogue between the two leaders “dynamic” and hinted the conversation between the two would be about more than just the nation, but the rest of Eastern Europe as well.
“We believe it’s in the interest not only of the United States of America and Ukraine, but also in the interests of the region that I represent,” he explained. “Where democracy has to be advanced, where prosperity has to be promoted and where, first and foremost, security has to be ensured.”
The meeting stood as a precursor to the first face-to-face between Biden and Zelensky, which has been scheduled for August 30.